The introduction of the Premier League’s very own winter break has caused plenty of controversy this week. The mid-season break began for 12 teams with the other eight in action this weekend.
League leaders Liverpool’s absence was most newsworthy with Neil Critchley and the U-23s taking the field for their FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.
That means is that we have slim pickings for this weekend’s bets. The relegation six-pointer between Watford and Brighton is the highlight.
Brighton vs Watford
8th February 2020 12:30PM
Things are tight at the bottom of the league and the result of this game will have a big impact on the final league standings.
Watford are second from bottom despite a recent improvement in form under Nigel Pearson. Brighton are three points better off in 15th and Graham Potter will surely be looking over his shoulder in the coming weeks and months.
Brighton have only won once in their last ten games. Potter’s men have only scored four goals in their last five home games too although Glenn Murray scored his first of the season against West Ham last weekend.
Watford are not exactly prolific goalscorers themselves. Crystal Palace are the only side to have scored fewer goals than The Hornets this season. Captain Troy Deeney is their top scorer with five goals this campaign.
These two sides played out a 0-0 draw in this fixture last season and a repeat of that can be backed at an attractive +750 with CanPlay. If you’re looking for a winner, we think Watford just shade it. They have picked up four wins since Pearson took over and look a good bet at +255.
Sheffield United vs Bournemouth
9th February 2020 9AM
Bournemouth are another side who will be looking over their shoulder in the coming weeks. Eddie Howe’s side spent most of the Christmas period in the relegation zone. They have jumped up to 16th with back-to-back wins. Making it three in a row will be a tough task with a trip to Bramall Lane on the cards this weekend.
Sheffield United have performed above all expectations this season and find themselves in 6th position, only five points off the Champions League places. Their form has dipped slightly since the turn of the New Year and they have since been leapfrogged by Spurs with Manchester United and Wolves nipping at their heels.
Given the league standings it’s no surprise that The Blades are favourites at -140 with CanPlay. We think things are going to be close in this one though. For that reason, we’re backing Bournemouth (+1) at +115.
Manchester City vs West Ham
9th February 2020 11:30AM
Another relegation-threatened team, West Ham, travel to Manchester to face the reigning champions. Like Watford, West Ham made the decision to switch managers mid-season, re-hiring David Moyes.
Despite an initial improvement, West Ham have not won since New Year’s Day and it’s unlikely that they will return to London with a victory this weekend.
Manchester City have won each of their last seven meetings against West Ham, scoring 23 goals and conceding just 3 in the process. Kun Aguero has maintained his record-breaking scoring rate this season with 16 goals in 19 Premier League appearances. He can be backed at +175 to score the first on Sunday.
Moyes will be boosted by the return of Felipe Anderson and the arrival of Jarrod Bowen but that’s unlikely to be enough this weekend. Bet on City to win with CanPlay.